Homemade Apple Pectin

September 2nd, 2014
Homemade apple pectin made with Wealthy apples

Homemade apple pectin made with Wealthy apples

If your interested in using homemade apple pectin,WE HAVE IT! The most recent batch of apple pectin was made with Wealthy apples from Gould Hill Farm in Contoocook, NH  . Homemade apple pectin gives jam and jelly a softer set and will hold the set for 10 months to 1 year. Use it when your recipe calls for liquid pectin.

Summer is coming to a close but the canning season is in full swing

August 24th, 2014
prepping for lemon pickle

prepping for lemon pickle

Canning season is in full swing! My husband and I have been picking blueberries and raspberries in the morning and then prep them for the freezer . After I typically start the canner and begin getting my ingredients together for the recipes I plan to can that day.. As I am prepping or canning  in the evening my husband and I are listening to the Red Sox games. I have to say that the results of my canning are turning out better than the Red sox  games have.

We have a farmer friend Joe Pustizzi who has honor system pick your own blueberries and raspberries. Picking blueberries this year is like picking grapes, so far we have picked 30lbs of blueberries. We are hoping to pick another 20lbs and  Joe planted a variety of blueberry bushes that will ripen right  into the fall which gives us a longer window in which we can harvest the berries,Thanks Joe!

spring 2014-so hopeful!

spring 2014-so hopeful!

I will leave you with a sad note…….our pear tree, we have very few pears this year,maybe 50 …….so sad to see the tree so empty. I am assuming that when  the tree bloomed it was too cold for the pollinators and then we had a heavy rain that wiped out the blossoms leading to  fewer pears. So there won’t be any pear preserves or jam, but I  do still have 15 pints of pickled pears for sale! Remember there is always next year…so keep your fingers crossed.

The 2nd week of June is almost over and the Iris are all done blooming…….so sad

June 12th, 2014
The first iris that opened and 2 weeks later they are all done.

The first iris that opened and 2 weeks later they are all done.

April and May were very dry and cool ,while June has been wet with occasional heat waves.The Iris have been amazing and the lilacs were a disappointment.

We don’t have many flowers around our property as the sheep and the goats are used to mow the lawn and they would eat the flowers and anything that is in the yard . I think that if I didn’t use the goats and sheep to mow the lawn I could have a lovely perennial garden. But if the goats and sheep aren’t mowing the lawn,I would have to mow the lawn…. I hate to mow the lawn,so the sheep and goats keep their job and I will still have my Iris in June and the local day lilies in July to brighten up my lawn!


Summer is almost here! Look at that long lush grass…..and it is 49 degrees…….

May 29th, 2014
From L to R Mertz & her 2 lambs ivory and ebony and Miss Donkey enjoying the green grass!

From L to R
Mertz & her 2 lambs ivory and ebony and Miss Donkey enjoying the green grass!

The Month of May has just flown by.We have been busy putting up more permanent fence and chasing sheep who are determined to jump any low or sagging piece of electronet. In order to keep the sheep from jumping the fence we ordered more rolls of the tallest electronet and it arrives today.

Rocky the Mighty Rooster! Who ate you?

Rocky the Mighty Rooster! Who ate you?

We woke up on Friday morning last week to find out that  some predator  ate our rooster Rocky…he was such a nice rooster and was  awesome at protecting the hens from aerial predators. We miss him!


Spring has sprung and is quickly moving right into summer, black flies, ticks and all!

May 15th, 2014
The Pear tree is just staring to bloom!

The Pear tree is just staring to bloom!

Finally they decided to come up!

The asparagus finally  decided to come up!

Red Feathered Broiler

These chicks may look ugly now, but they are great foragers enjoying the grass and the bugs!

We are in the middle of May and I  look at the calendar in amazement. Where did the month of April go? Wasn’t there snow on the ground a little while ago? Now all I see is clouds of black flies framed on a light green background.  The landscape is getting greener, the asparagus are coming up and  the chicks are  bigger and look less ugly.  I love this time of year as we have access to our own asparagus,eggs and greens from local farmers and we are enjoying each dish and every bite!

We are moving along with our permanent fencing and have endured black fly attacks ,escaping/leaping sheep and  the ticks  that are trying to make us miserable.

But I wouldn’t give up this time of year for the world. I love the change from the light green,somewhat bleak spring landscape to the green leafy cool of the summer forest. Earlier this week at dusk while I was walking by a neighbors farm and the noise made by the peepers was deafening . At the same time I could here the pair of loons on Walker Pond just south east of our property line. Yes, as my mother would say “Spring has sprung”!

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 10th, 2014
Oh ,yes it is also my mother's birthday!

Oh ,yes it is also my mother’s birthday!

My mother was trained as a dietitian and she was also an excellent cook! She always said ” the food has to be colorful to make it appetizing.  My mothers favorite cookbook is called ” Food for Fifty”.

Both my parent’s cooked,but they each had specialities. My mom made superior gravy,souffle and delicious meals with very few ingredients, my dad made terrific  meatloaf , pancakes, jams & relishes.

My parent’s were both very supportive of my learning to  cook. My father took my first failed loaf of bread and shellacked it and used it as a doorstop!


Tried a new technique to keep peeled apples from browning!

May 2nd, 2014

I don’t remember where I saw the story or read about it, but what it comes down to is a bowl of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to keep the apples from browning. I was lucky enough to have another farmer(Warner River Organics) give me some of the not so perfect/saleable  apples, they were Macoun apples that had been in cold storage since the fall. I peeled,cored and cut them into thin slices and placed them in the large bowl of cold water with 2 tablespoons  of kosher salt mixed  in. After I finished prepping all the apples I drained the apples and rinsed them once and drained them again and spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper . I placed the trays in the freezer and 2 hrs later I took the perfectly frozen apple slices and put them in pint freezer bags ,marked them and put them back in the freezer.

Now I will say that Macouns take along time to brown once they have been cut, But 2 weeks later the frozen apples still look great. What impressed me was their great texture in a Apple Kuchen I made on Sunday to take to a Farmers’ Market Pot luck dinner/meeting. I think the next time I use this process I will cut the apple sliced a bit thicker,especially if the slices will be used in a pie. The Kuchen recipe I used was from the Tassajara Bread Book,1970 edition.  I did use frozen fruit and raw sugar, and I put the bowl with the fruit and the sugar into the microwave at a low power for 3 minutes then mixed the apples and sugar, I found after the first three minutes the apples were still too frozen to be coated with sugar, so I kept the power low and put the bowl in the microwave for another 3 minutes and that seemed to be enough to thaw the apples and then they took to the sugar quite nicely.

It will be interesting to see how other varieties of apples react to this process and I will let you know how I fair. I plan to try the process with our own Bosc pears as well, who knows what will happen!

Lamb Polenta “Lasagne”-Pick up ground lamb at the Weare winter market or at the farm!

April 23rd, 2014

end view of the Lamb Polenta “Lasagne”

*Please note: Sorry for the inconvenience but we will not be at the Contoocook market 4/26 & 5/3-But I will be at The Weare Winter Market 4/25 & 5/2 or you can arrange to pick up at the farm- I will have eggs with me on 4/25 & 5/2 at the Weare Market!

We have  lean ground lamb and if you are looking for a rich tasting and filling main dish you need to try Lamb Polenta “lasagne”. This recipe is a great chance to use the stew tomatoes you put up on the shelf or in the freezer last fall. The recipe says not to use lean lamb,but I found that it tasted great,I just didn’t drain the cooked lamb before I added the tomatoes. I don’t use ready-made polenta ,but make it fresh the day before(or earlier in the day I plan to use it) and put it in a 13x9x2 pan ,which is larger than the pan I plan to use for the “lasagne”.  By using a larger pan to make the polenta, it guarantees that you will be able to overlap the layers in a smaller pan.

added some Mexican cheese ,since the Mozzarella was a bit skimpy.

added some Mexican cheese ,since the Mozzarella was a bit skimpy.


1 cup instant polenta, 3-3 1/2 cups (a mix of) stock or water & Milk+ 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional but adds zip to the polenta), 1/2 c  grated Parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt(optional,especially if you are using stock)

Bring the liquid to a boil , slowly stir in polenta , whisk constantly for 2-6minutes till the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan. Take off heat and add cheese, mix and pour into greased pan -cover with plastic wrap or greased parchment paper pressed lightly against the surface of the hot polenta,chill 3-4 hrs.

When you are ready to make the “lasagne” take the polenta  out of the fridge and release the polenta from the pan and cut it through the middle like you would with a cake  to put in filling. Then cut it into equal squares/rectangle to place in your pan and follow the directions in the Epicurious recipe for assembling the “lasagne”.  ENJOY!





The Chicks are Here!!!!!!!!!!! We will have lamb and eggs at the Weare Winter Market!!

April 21st, 2014
chick Pictures from 2 yrs ago

chick Pictures from 2 yrs ago

*Please note: Sorry for the inconvenience but we will not be at the Contoocook market 4/26 & 5/3-But I will be at The Weare Winter Market 4/25 & 5/2 or you can arrange to pick up at the farm- I will have eggs with me on 4/25 & 5/2 at the Weare Market!

The Meat chicks are here and soon the egg layer chicks will arrive! The picture on the left is from 2 yrs ago when we had a very early warm spring and we could start the chicks in an outdoor pen. This year we need to start them in the hen house on the north side of the house.
Due to the predation problem ( aerial  and weasel type predators) we have to raise the chicks in the hen house. But once they get bigger we can let them out onto the grass in an enclosure and close them back in the hen house at night to keep them safe.

The lambs are growing in leaps and bounds! But the fields are greening very slow due to the latest cold snap. With the nice weather(some of the time) all the animals  are getting restless to get out in the fields and are trying to escape through any opening possible. We have the electric fencing up and  running but only in a limited area. Once the ground dries out a bit we will start stringing up permanent wire fencing. I am hoping to get more fencing up before the tick population takes off.

The Chicks will arrive soon!* Please read note below

April 6th, 2014

*Please note: We will not be at the Contoocook market 4/26 & 5/3-But I will be at The Weare Winter Market 4/25 & 5/2 or you can arrange to pick up at the farm-Sorry for the inconvenience!

Yes, Spring has finally come, even though there is still snow on the ground! It is time to order chicks, we will order meat bird chicks and The Chicks are due soon!25 layer chicks! The lambs are getting big and all the animals are hoping it won’t be long till they get out in the fields. They expressed their desire  to get out in the fields on Friday afternoon when they pushed open an untied gate . Luckily they are easy to move , I came out of the house and said ” what are you guys doing?” , their answer was to run back through the gate they had pushed open. We still have too much snow in the fields to activate our electric fence and it is too early to work on setting posts and running solid wire fence. Mud season will be here soon enough and after the ground settles down we can get the animals back out in their fields.